Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Moroccan Style Cod with Olives, Lemon and Cauliflower

So, this title either made you salivate or wince. I have found that most people are not really luke- warm about olives OR cauliflower--they're either fans or not. If both make you happy, then read on:

This dish is super good! It's a Bon Appetit recipe that I found because I was searching around for something to do with both cod and cauliflower. I tweaked the recipe a bit in cooking procedure and ingredients mainly because I didn't have exactly what the original recipe included. This dish is unusual. It is a bit quirky and the kind of dish that a certain kind of restaurant might feature. I would be a fan and order it over and over. However, I really like tart, savory fare but that does not appeal to all palates. I served this on a bed of basmati brown rice.
  • 5 cups cauliflower florets
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, divide
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons thym
  • 20 large pimiento-stuffed green olives from jar, halved, plus 1 tablespoon brine
  • 1 pound cod fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup mixed chopped olives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


    • Place cod on plate. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika over fish. Sprinkle 2 minced garlic cloves over; drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Rub into fish on both sides. Cover and chill 1 hour.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower; sauté 2 minutes. Add 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/4 teaspoon cumin; sauté until cauliflower is crisp-tender and beginning to brown, stirring and adding about 1/2 cup water to keep garlic  from browning too quickly, 4 minutes longer. Add vinegar, sugar, thyme, and 2 minced garlic cloves. Reduce heat to medium-low and add some more water simmer until most of vinegar is absorbed, about 4 or 5 more minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Toss in stuffed olives and 1 tablespoon brine. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Re-heat same skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to skillet and cook until just opaque in center, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Carefully transfer fish to platter. Add lemon juice and mixed olives to skillet and stir 10 seconds; pour over fish. Spoon cauliflower mixture around fish, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Baked Baby Backs

Sometimes you might feel like ribs but you don't want to use your grill. Maybe you just want to put them in the oven and forget about them? Maybe you don't want to use a commercial BBque sauce: maybe you feel like making your own from scratch? If that's you,  then I have a great recipe for you. You put a rub on the ribs and bake for over two hours--then spoon on the sauce for the last 1/2 hour. They are very tender but they are different from your typical barbecued ribs so be advised :-)

-  3 pounds pork ribs
- 1 Tbsp. sea salt
- 1 Tbsp. paprika
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:1. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 250F. Combine all spice ingredients together in a small bowl and stir to combine to create the rub.
2. Rub both sides of the ribs with the spice rub and place the ribs on a baking sheet, meat side down and cover with foil.
3. Bake the ribs for about 2 hours. during the last 1/2 hour, remove foil, flip carefully and spoon on barbecue sauce. Bake for 30 more minutes--if you want you can run under the broiler if you want them more browned looking. ( I didn't do that)
4. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice the ribs and serve.

While the ribs are baking you can make your homemade sauce:

- 16 oz tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 5 Tbsp. raw honey
- 1/2 Tbsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1/2 Tbsp. ground mustard
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Bring just to a boil. 
2. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 1 hour or until thickened to your liking.

I served with baked veggies: eggplant, zucchini, onion and peppers topped with a little mozzarella cheese.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cold Peanut Zoodles with Chicken

Oh, wow, is this good! My DH often sends me recipes from the NYT and I often just ignore them--too much time, too many ingredients-feeling lazy-whatever. However, recently he sent me this recipe and it piqued my interest because I am basically a complete sucker for anything that may involve a peanut sauce. The original recipe called for rice noodles but I had a gigantic zucchini that wanted to be made into noodles and my waistline agreed that would be a good idea. It gave me an excuse to use my cute spiralizer tool, too. This is a bit of work because you need to make a couple sauces and a marinade but after all that is done, it comes together pretty quickly and it is quite delicious. Here are the directions for the original recipe with my changes:



  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  •   2 serrano chiles, sliced thinly


  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 4 Tablespoons peanut butter
    • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  •  Pinch cayenne


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 1 1/4 pounds
  • 4 large garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  •  teaspoon cayenne
    • 1 large zucchini, spiralized into "noodles"
  • 2 small cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch half moons
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in thin julienne
    • Small handful basil sprigs
  •  Small handful mint sprigs
  •  Small handful cilantro sprigs
  • 4 tablespoons slivered scallions

Make the dipping sauce: Combine ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes. Refrigerate any extra and use within a few days.
    Make the peanut dressing: In a blender or small food processor, puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl.
      Put the chicken thighs in a zip-lock bag. To make the marinade, puree the garlic, ginger,  fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and cayenne in a blender or small food processor. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes-better if longer like an hour.

          Grill the chicken on stove-top grill pan, or under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces.
            In a small bowl, dress the cucumbers, carrots with 1 tablespoon dipping sauce. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 bowls. Top each bowl equally with the cucumber mixture and chopped chicken. Spoon 2 teaspoons dipping sauce and 2 tablespoons peanut dressing over each portion. Add the basil, mint and cilantro sprigs, torn or roughly chopped (leave whole if leaves are small). Sprinkle with the scallions.  Pass small bowls of the two sauces.

            Saturday, July 25, 2015

            Steamed Fish and Veggies

            Ok so you've probably heard of cooking food En papillote  which is the fancy French way of saying in parchment paper. Yeah, well, I use parchment paper all the time as a liner for my veggies but I don't often wrap food in it. However, I saw a recipe on  my Splendid Table (NPR) site and I thought what the hell? So it's fish and veggies wrapped in parchment paper and baked and I have to say it was darn good! The recipe called for red snapper but my fish person didn't have it so I used Walleye (which according to my non-fishing eating father) is the best fish known to man. I have to say the dish turned out really nice but it is a subtle dish and as you all know, I like food with fairly strong flavors. I think it was actually very good--sort of almost like something you would get a fancy shmancy restaurant :-)

            Fish and Veggies in Parchment

            1 lb red snapper walleye, trout (cut in half)
            1 small zucchini, sliced thinly
            1 small yellow squash, sliced thinly
            1 medium tomato chopped
            olive oil
            salt and pepper
            white wine springs of fresh thyme
            parchment paper
            fresh basil

            Tear big pieces of parchment. Divide squash between the two papers. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. top with fish fillet, drizzle with white wine, salt and pepper and tomatoes and fresh thyme. Fold the fish up in a nice little package and place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. Open the packages carefully as they will be hot. Transfer to plate, pouring juice over all and adding chopped fresh basil.

            This dish is nice served over couscous or rice since it generates nice juice that you can pour over.

            I also served with peas that I cooked with chopped red pepper and chopped fresh mint--plus about a T of butter.

            Wednesday, July 22, 2015

            Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw

            I really like a variety of hot sauces. I can't say which one is my favorite. It depends on the dish. Now for a dish that needs to taste like Buffalo Wings, well, you need Frank's Red Hot Sauce--no other one will do. End of story. The chicken goes really well with the slaw and I added some sautéed kale to round out the dinner. Pretty yummy.

            Buffalo Chicken Breasts
            3 breasts
            2 T Frank's Red Hot Sauce
            1 T lemon juice
            1 T agave
            crumbled blue cheese

            Mix together.

            Salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Spoon about half the sauce over the chicken breasts. Reserve a little to drizzle over the chicken after it's cooked.

            Grill the breasts about 5 minutes each side and let them rest before cutting. Cut into slices, drizzle with reserved sauce and sprinkle with some blue cheese crumbles.

            Blue Cheese Slaw
            6 T of your favorite blue cheese dressing
            3 T buttermilk
            salt and pepper
            a bunch scallions chopped
            1 small bag cut up slaw
            Mix the dressing up and toss with cabbage and onion.

            2 bunches kale washed and chopped
            1 cup chicken broth
            salt and pepper
            dried red pepper
            4 garlic cloves, minced
            red wine vinegar
            olive oil

            In large skillet with lid, heat some olive oil. Sauté the garlic carefully (don't burn it) add the kale and stir around--add salt, pepper and dried red pepper, then the broth. Turn heat to low and simmer until the kale is really wilted. Add some red wine vinegar before serving.

            Tuesday, July 21, 2015

            Chipotle Salmon with Cauliflower Arugula Salad

            This dinner was SO good. I have to say that the chipotle mixture that goes on the salmon may be a bit too spicy for some folks so take that in consideration if you try to make this. If you like a milder dish, just use that topping sparingly. The recipe makes enough for four people really but we only made fish for two. It is tasty, healthful, and pretty......what's not to like?

            1 lb salmon
            1 small can chipotle peppers, minced
            1 T balsamic vinegar
            2 T olive oil

            2 cups arugula
            1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite size chunks
            1 1/2  T cider vinegar
            1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
            1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
            1/4 pine nuts
            some salt

            Preheat oven 450

            Toss cauliflower with a T of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes. Stir after after 15 minutes.

            Mix chipotle peppers with 1 T balsamic vinegar--reserve a T of that mixture.

            Spread the chipotle mixture over the fish which you have put in a baking dish.

            In small bowl, mix 1 T reserved chipotle stuff, 1 T olive oil and the cider vinegar and some salt.

            When cauliflower is done, turn oven down to 400. Put fish in and cook for 16 minutes.

            In large bowl, toss cauliflower, arugula, sun dried tomatoes, olives, pine nuts with dressing.

            Serve salad along side salmon.

            Grilled Flank Steak with Radish Corn Relish

            • Here's a tasty combo that comes together quickly and looks pretty on the plate. I adapted this from a recipe I found on line at Feasting At Home.

            • 1 ½ - 2 lbs Flank Steak
            • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
            • 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
            • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin

            • Radish Corn Salad
            • 3/4 of a bag of frozen sweet corn, thawed
            • 5 radishes- very thinly sliced
            • ¼ of a red onion- very thinly sliced ( about ¼ cup)
            • ¼ cup chopped Italian Parsley
            • ½ teaspoon salt
            • ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
            • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
            • ⅛ cup olive oil
            • ¼ cup fresh lime juice ( 2 limes)
            1. In a small bowl mix salt, cumin and smoked paprika. Coat both sides of flank steak with the spice rub and let sit at room temp while you make the salad or up to 30 minutes.
            2. Make Corn-Radish Salad. Thinly slice radishes and place into the bowl. Very thinly slice onions and place in the bowl. Add chopped parsley. Add the lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and coriander and toss well. Set aside or refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
            3. Pre- heat grill on high heat. Grill meat high heat until steak is nicely charred on each side and cooked to medium rare, about 5 minutes on first side and three on the second side. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
            4. Serve with Corn Radish Salad

            Monday, July 20, 2015

            Grilled Romaine

            I decided to do our whole dinner on the grill last night. We had hot Italian sausages with peppers and onions and a new recipe: Grilled Romaine! I have to say it was quite yummy--sort of like a warm Caesar Salad :-) Recipe from the NYT.

            FOR THE DRESSING:

            • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
            • 6 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
            • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
            • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
            • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
            • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
            •  Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

            FOR THE SALAD:

            • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
            • 2 heads romaine lettuce, tops and bottoms trimmed neatly, the heads cut lengthwise into quarters
            • ½ cup grated Parmesan
            • PREPARATION

              1. Build a fire in your grill, leaving one side free of coals. When coals are covered with gray ash and the temperature is medium (you can hold your hand 5 inches above the coals for 5 to 7 seconds), you are ready to cook. (For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, lower cover and heat for 15 minutes, then turn burners to medium.)
              2. Meanwhile, make the dressing: Put the minced garlic into a bowl, and add the minced anchovies. Using a whisk, mix and mash these ingredients together until they form a paste. Add the mayonnaise and the mustard and whisk. Add the olive oil, whisking all the while, and then the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
              3. Make the salad: Drizzle the olive oil over the quartered heads of lettuce. Lightly grill these directly over the hot coals for 15 to 20 seconds on each side, until they are lightly golden, then remove to the cool side of the grill. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, paint the dressing over the lettuce, making sure to get dressing between the leaves. Sprinkle the lettuce with Parmesan and cover the grill for 1 or 2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and the lettuce to soften further. Remove lettuce to a platter and serve.

            Sunday, July 5, 2015

            Happy 4th of July!

            What a gorgeous day! I believe that we here in Michigan wait all year for a day like today! Here's hoping that it was good day for y'all. We had a nice quiet day with a walk in the morning, a nice dinner out on the deck and then a good movie on the big screen.

            I decided to make up my own signature cocktail for the holiday: Lemon Sara. Quite nice if I do say so myself.

            Decided on turkey burgers and zucchini chips. I have to say that I thought I had a good recipe for turkey burgers but this one topped my tried and true.

            First things first: how about this cocktail?

            Lemon Sara

            2 1/2 oz good vodka
            1/1/2 oz Limoncello
            crushed  ice
            lemon slice
            chilled martini glass

            Shake for 30 seconds and pour, garnish and enjoy!

            Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers

            1 lb ground turkey
            1/2 bag frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry as possible
            1 beaten egg
            some dried red pepper
            salt and pepper
            2 cloves garlic, minced
            3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

            Mix all that together, form into four patties and refrigerate. When ready to cook, brush with olive oil and cook in hot skillet for 5 minutes, then flip for another 5--the flip for anther 6. Serve on toasted bun with mayo, Dijon mustard, lettuce leaf, hot sauce and red onion.

            Serve with Baked Zucchini Chips

            Preheat oven 450
            line cookie sheet with foil

            2 zucchini cut in rounds 1/4 in thick
            olive oil
            Italian bread crumbs
            Parmesan cheese
            garlic powder

            Toss zucchini chips with olive oil. On plate, mix crumbs, cheese and garlic powder. Coat each chip with crumb mixture. Bake for 15 minutes and then flip for 15 more. Watch that they don't burn--ovens vary.

            Saturday, July 4, 2015

            Shrimp and Scallop Pasta

            I just love it when a plan comes together! I really didn't want to go to the grocery and fight the 4th of July crowds and was sure that I could scrounge around and come up with a decent dinner. I knew I had about 6 frozen large shrimp and maybe four large frozen scallops. I defrosted those and then put together this and that from the fridge and it worked! :-)

            6 large shrimp
            4 large scallops-cut in half
            1/2 red pepper in large dice
            1/2 yellow pepper in large dice
            4 scallions cut in one inch pieces
            4 garlic cloves, minced
            1 bunch of cilantro
            1 lime juiced
            1/2 box whole wheat linguini
            salt, pepper, dried red pepper
            4 T butter
            olive oil

            Cook pasta according to pkg

            In large skillet, melt butter and quickly sauté the shrimp and scallops and remove to bowl (they can be a bit undercooked cause you'll be adding them back into the pan).

            Next, sauté the onion and peppers for several minutes, add the garlic--salt and pepper everything and sprinkle on red pepper. Drain the pasta (and reserve a little pasta water)

            Add the seafood back in the skillet, the lime juice and the cilantro and stir around a bit--then add the drained pasta--mix around well--Taste to see if it needs more salt or if too dry add some reserved pasta water or some olive oil.